This most female of networks runs a structurally very predictable and stable schedule. Most nights if you like what's on at 8pm, you'll like the whole evening, for they stack as heavily as virtually any network out there. Often, the same series title will run for an entire evening. The range of programming is very wide, with original series related to weddings taking up a lot of real estate (MY FAIR WEDDING, BRIDEZILLAS, AMAZING WEDDING CAKES). Off-network newsmagazine reversions are a popular staple, and THE LOCATOR, an original production aimed at finding and re-uniting family members lost to one another, remains a fairly strong performer. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention GOLDEN GIRLS. This sitcom antique, with its famous blue-haired ensemble cast, often gets more telecasts than any other title, and it has for years.
MAY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2012 vs. May 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
WEtv stumbled through an anemic May, with ratings virtually unchanged from the month and year before. Ratings were almost uniformly low aside from the network’s single bright spot: Thursday nights featuring MARY, MARY.
While WE’s primetime Thursday ratings were modest, they were impressive relative to the rest of the schedule. Much like fellow hit BRAXTON FAMILY VALUES, MARY has garnered the success that other WE shows have found so elusive. This past May, no other WE show’s ratings were remotely comparable to MARY. The network’s top six telecasts were comprised of four premiere episodes of MARY and two reruns. The fact that two MARY reruns beat out every telecast for every other show isn’t surprising considering how much WE depends on acquired programming.
The yearly strides that can be attributed to MARY are very impressive. Compared to last year, Thursday nights have skyrocketed 200% among women aged 18-49 and 300% in women 25-54. In people aged 25-54 they have increased a full 400%. To put this upswing into context, Thursday nights in May 2011 featured AMAZING WEDDING CAKES and MY FAIR WEDDING. While CAKES and WEDDING were admittedly not breakout hits, any increase of this magnitude is encouraging.
Moving on from MARY, the rest of WE’s schedule was mostly comprised of acquisitions and reruns. The only brand new broadcasts (aside from MARY) belong to new reality show SHANNEN SAYS. The show got off to a weak start in April but managed to gain viewership among women aged 25-54 in its second month. Still, even with slightly increased ratings, the show had a very poor reception. Despite airing four all new episodes, SHANNEN was bested by CSI MIAMI, MY FAIR WEDDING, GHOST WHISPERER, GOLDEN GIRLS, and BRIDEZILLAS – all of which aired reruns exclusively.
SHANNEN was marginally more popular among women aged 25-54 than 18-49 but, in this instance, “popular” is a relative term. The only three programs SHANNEN beat out were three specials of BRIDEZILLAS.
There was very little ratings deviation among the remainder of WE’s schedule. Each night, aside from Thursday, had similarly low ratings regardless of programming.